3 Reasons to Use Compressed Air to Power Your Control Valves

In this video, Mark shares 3 reasons you should consider compressed air to power your control valves: Wet Gas, Housed Skids, and Emissions Regulations.

Suppliers introduced pneumatic controls so producers could use the natural gas produced from the well to operate them.  

This was the default procedure for decades. Recently, however, this has been changing due to three primary factors: wet gas, equipment location, and regulation changes. 

  1. Wet Gas. The condition of the natural gas on a well can have a great impact on pneumatic controls. “Wet gas”—meaning gas that contains a large percentage of hydrocarbons. Other problematic natural gas qualities include high BTU, and gases that contain solids such as salt or iron. These conditions can often cause fouling in supply gas regulators as well as level and pressure controllers.
  2. Housed Skids. More and more skids are being housed in enclosures. Some producers do this because of climate conditions. Others may be housed to facilitate ease of construction and installation or for security. Whatever the reason, fugitive gas emissions put off from the standard operation of controllers can present a safety concern when they operate in a housed unit. An enclosed unit filled with natural gas is not something you want your people walking into.
  3. Emissions Regulations. More and more government agencies are monitoring pneumatic devices used in the energy industry.  

How to Use Compressed Air to Power Your Control Valves

To deal with these challenges, many producers are exploring alternatives to using well-produced natural gas. One alternative is compressed air.  

Producers can use an air compressor on a well site to supply air to all pneumatics. The advantage of using compressed air is you can keep the pneumatic controllers you and your operators are used to working with. The only change required is the supply tubing.  

Some challenges with using compressed air include: 

  • Identifying a reliable, cost-effective compressor 
  • Preventing theft of the compressor 
  • Drying the air in the compressor 

Another concern some producers have is the possibility of air mixing into the natural gas stream in the instance of a compromised elastomer.  

For examplesay you have a low pressure control valve like the EUA3 in a burner valve application on a heater treater. If the seal inside is compromised, air could get into the gas stream going to the burner and cause a soot build up inside your firetube.  

One solution Kimray offers to avoid this mixture is our High Pressure Control Valve 

The open-yoke design of the High Pressure Control Valve means that if an elastomer does leak, the compressed air will go to atmosphere rather than entering the gas line.  

If you have further questions about using compressed air for your operation, contact your nearest Kimray store or authorized distributor